The Week in Florida Agriculture
May 12-18, 2008
Peanut planting continues with 76 percent completed compared to 49 percent this time last year. Squash harvest continues and pepper harvest is expected to begin soon. In Starke, strawberry harvest is complete. Cantaloupe harvest continues. Potato harvest continues. Planting of cotton and peanuts continues. Harvest of wheat and other small grains continues in Jackson and Santa Rosa counties with good yields reported on irrigated fields. Suwannee Valley continues harvesting green beans, cucumbers and organic crops. Eggplant harvest is nearly complete in Wauchula. Fort Myers producers reporting better quantity and quality of watermelons. Florida City continues to harvest and pack okra. Vegetables: Other vegetables being marketed throughout the week are sweet corn, eggplant, peppers, radishes and tomatoes. Seafood: Beginning June 1, 2008, commercial fishermen will be required to use non-stainless-steel circle hooks, d-hooking and venting devices when using natural baits to harvest reef fish in Gulf of Mexico federal waters. Reef fish species include all snapper, grouper, sea bass, amberjack, triggerfish, hogfish, red porgy and tilefish. For information, call the Gulf Council at 1-888-833-1844. Drought Update: Most areas received above a half-inch of rain. DeSoto County received 2.40 inches, Franklin County received 2.52 inches, St. Lucie County received 2.47 inches, and Hardee County received 2.49 inches. The most precipitation fell in Broward County with 3.05 inches and Collier County with 5.17 inches. Topsoil moisture is mostly short across the state and subsoil moisture is reported as adequate. Lake Okeechobee level closed the week at 9.75 feet and dropping. Livestock and Pastures: The state pasture condition improving in general, but drought still limits grass growth. In the Panhandle and northern areas, pasture condition is mainly in fair condition. The cattle condition is mostly in good condition. Cattle are being fed supplemental hay in several areas as pasture has not recovered. In central areas, pasture condition is mainly in poor condition. The cattle condition is very poor to good. In the southwestern areas, pasture is mostly in fair condition. Pastures improved following showers. Statewide, cattle condition is mainly in fair condition. Citrus: Citrus-producing areas experienced normal average temperatures this week with lows in the mid-60s at night and reaching the mid to low 90s during the day. All areas received much-needed rainfall from widely scattered thunderstorms. Amounts ranged from traces of rain in the Hillsborough area to over 5 inches recorded at Immokalee. Interior areas received up to 2 inches in some areas, but very little in others. This was the first significant rainfall recorded since early April. Irrigation continues where needed to maintain tree vigor. Most trees look good with heavy foliage and healthy new fruit. Hedging and topping continue. Other activities in citrus groves include irrigating, spraying, mowing and brush removal. Growers are combating greening by removing trees and attempting to control the Psyllids with pesticides. Valencia processing is still running around the 6 million-box level weekly, with adequate availability of fruit remaining to continue this level into June. Some processing plants plan to run Valencia oranges into the second week of July. Large quantities of grapefruit utilization are over, but small amounts will trickle in for several more weeks. Honey tangerine harvest is nearing completion with packinghouses closing for the season.